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Founders CBS Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders CBS Imperial StoutFounders CBS Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,352 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,352
Reviews: 756
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 10.09%
Wants: 2,913
Gots: 520 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.60% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: CRJMellor on 02-01-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,352 | Reviews: 756 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SeaUrchin
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

went to the founders happy hour at slows bbq, had this on tap into a goblet, low light room so appearance might not be perfect, also i got 2 pours of it since my buddies girlfriend didnt like it, also this was a whale of mine and i had a godly expectation and it did not let me down, 2011 vintage

appearance - black, void of all light but around the head it appeared to be slightly red, this could have been due to the lighting, a darkish light brown head about a finger tall, that left but left nice lacing, low carbonation

smell - up front was a very sweet coffee smell (i think it is a beautiful blend of the maple syrup, the bourbon, and the coffee) almost fruity, next came the bourbon and coffee that is reminiscent of KBS and chocolate, once it warmed up there was a noticeable alcohol smell but one that seemed appropriate and almost helped to balance out the sweetness

taste - coffee, but not as bitter as breakfast stout or KBS up front, fading into a sweet blend of maple syrup, chocolate, bourbon, vanilla and coffee, and finishes with a sweet maple bourbon coffee flavor, similar to a sugar cube and a drop of syrup into an irish coffee, simply amazing, as it warmed up a bit of booze came through

mouthfeel - thick, sticky, and lingered on the tongue, amazing, fit the nose and taste perfectly

overall - if there is a god this is evidence of it, simply amazing, lived up to the hype and my own expectations, and more, a perfect 5, hit all the notes i wanted sweet, bitter, booze, and coffee

other note - decided to sit on my bottle for at least a year, i was spoiled with 12oz (more like 18 from the pours) will report back once it is opened, once again probably my favorite beer to this point

SeaUrchin, Oct 21, 2011
Photo of xpimptastikx
4.05/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 release.

A - Inky black with a finger of milk chocolate head, a few spots and legs left in the glass.

S - roasted coffee, cocoa, alcohol, and not as much maple as I remember...

T - Chocolate, medium roast coffee, and light brown sugar.

M - light carbonation with a creamy mouthfeel, coats the mouth well.

O - Definitely not as fantastic as I remember it, and definitely not a top 3 stout.... The alcohol really started to show up after it passed 65F as well, which just seemed weird.

xpimptastikx, Oct 21, 2011
Photo of ComposerZero
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What can I say. Despite the hype, I was blown away by this beer. Wasn't sure what to expect, maybe a bigger, full-throttle, Mikkeller-esque version of the "regular" Breakfast Stout? Not the case. This beer is simply delicious. It's also easier to drink and sweeter than its sibling.

The color is dark chocolate with a sliver of cinnamon tinged head without retention. It's impenetrably dark and is definitely similar to the 'regular' in color. Perhaps blacker?

Blow you away nose. . . I'm talking a grin from ear to ear. Whiffs of whiskey barrel and maple syrup lead the way followed by high-toned coffee aromas. Tertiary aromas of smoke, bitter chocolate, sweet molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg, black tea, and oak give this some serious complexity. It presents itself in an almost floral abundance of sweetness. Imagine combining grade B maple syrup with a serious Bourbon in the 'regular' Breakfast Stout and you can imagine what this smells like.

The aromas translate well on the palate where the bourbon, maple syrup, and coffee prevail. No booziness to speak of and without bitterness. It's sweet yet savory, smooth and clean. On the palate you can find those intriguing chocolate and spice notes from the aromas. The mouthfeel is sweet, long, plush, and deep with very slight carbonation and no rough edges. It finishes with a bit of tannin, I assume from the wood it was aged in.

Overall an amazing beer, one that's a candidate for perfection.

ComposerZero, Oct 20, 2011
Photo of joefuzz
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a fairly big dark brown head. Smells of coffee and bourbon. Maple taste is huge upfront then relaxes and gives way to some mild coffee and vanilla like bourbon tones. Mouthfeel and carbonation are everything a great imperial stout should be. Overall amazing beer so worth getting up at 8am for.

joefuzz, Oct 20, 2011
Photo of rudzud
4.58/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Managed to score a bottle of this at Julio's. A huge beer for review #500.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a super oily black with a huge, creamy mocha two finger head that fades to leave a thick cloud and halo.

S - Strong coffee, chocolate, and bourbon. There is a super light maple aftertaste. Its so incredibly smooth and rich.

T - More of the nose with super strong coffee and chocolate and bourbon. The maple is there on the finish but its not nearly as strong as I remember the draft style being.

M - So silky smooth and creamy, yet some nice fresh carbonation. the ABV is so well hidden, it drinks like a 5-6%!

O - Overall this is an amazing beer that is so masterfully ochestrated. It needs more maple syrup though. Alot more. This is still a great stout, just, not up to par with the on tap verson.

rudzud, Oct 20, 2011
Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.38/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The time has finally come: C. B. S.! Thankfully, I was able to snag a bottle from Village Bottle Shoppe #2’s lottery – I was one of the four (out of THIRTY) who won the chance to buy it! Honestly, I’m still just astonished I was able to get one. So thank you very much Dave and everyone else from VBS for making this epic tasting happen – you guys ROCK!

A: Shining black, syrupy, and bold: one killer look. The head forms slowly and deliberately, coming to a full finger of dense, layered foam. Looks great at first glance, and the addition of moderate retention and abundant bubbly lacing makes it that much better. A final interesting note is the color of the foam: dark, dark brown, so rich that it shines like lacquered wood. It certainly catches the eye. Pay attention, stout-makers: THIS is presence.

S: Damn – that’s awesome. Spicy bourbon and rich dark chocolate are so big you can just about taste them: powerful, yet smooth. Then, in comes a jab of coffee, roasty and bitter, that saddles up with the peppery spice of cinnamon for an added kick of hotness. Now, throughout the whole thing, there’s a sticky sweetness of real maple syrup (awesome), but the true colors only come out on the back end. Mixing with brown sugar, nutmeg, and oak from the barrels, the real Canadian sweetness lays thick as this one’s final aroma. Just fantastic. Even after just a few whiffs, I’m ready to dive right into this one – it’s just that good.

T: I didn’t think I’d ever find another palate like Dogfish Head’s World Wide Stout, a beer that I absolutely loved: that decadent alcoholic tinge, with just enough complexity in the sweetness to keep it from getting too cloying. But now, after just a small sip, I’m happy to say that this has proven me wrong. The first hit is a huge bourbon smash, fiery yet smooth, that overpowers the senses with wood, tobacco, vanilla, pepper, and smoke. It’s excellent. Soon, though, it becomes apparent that the main focus of this beer is a syrupy, darkened sweetness. Though I was expecting it, I don't think I was totally prepared for such a bold statement: earthy-sweet malt grains, chocolate fondue, cinnamon-sugar, molasses, and even some fruity strawberry/banana-sweetness are all carried along by a an extreme maple richness that seems to last a lifetime. It's very good, but, like Goose Island BCBS, the sweetness can hit the palate a bit too strongly at times, making it less and less drinkable. The aftertaste is nice, though: a milk chocolate meltdown, with big maple booze rounding it out. Overall, this palate is smooth, unique, and complex (there’s even a small but mighty hop taste in there, popping up with some pine bits on occasion), but a little too sugary to be an absolute favorite.

M: This is where so many stout “kings” lose me, usually because of thinness. Not this time, though: the body, perfectly smooth, slides around with a substantial viscous feel. The carbonation, smooth as silk, has just enough pop to keep it drinkably playful. Still, it warms the ears, dries the tongue, and opens the nose – a bourbon fire, for sure.

O: No doubt about it, this beer is superb; the maple tastes just add to the richness and complexity. I’m glad that I finally got to try it, so again, many thanks to Village Bottle Shoppe. There’s something special about a beer that’s this hyped, and luckily, it has the intensity to back it up. In all, it was one hell of an experience. You keep releasing beers like this, Founders, and Grand Rapids will no doubt become my second home.

BarryMFBurton, Oct 19, 2011
Photo of SaisonRichBiere
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served out of a bottle, poured into a 16 oz. mug.

(A) Thick, leggy, oily pour. Dark, dark brown, almost black, with a huge bubbly, dark chocolate milk head. Dissipated slowly, almost "cascading" in the glass. 2-3 finger head, not much lacing, the darkest of the dark. Beautiful.

(S) Strong, bitter, dark espresso/roasty chocolate malt kick followed by faint, clean 90 proof bourbon notes. Nothing too strong, finishing with a residual sugary sweetness on the nose.

(T) Big, strong espresso, followed by bittersweet chocolate, French toast, creamy cinnamon, slight toffee, finishing with a slight bourbon burn, then a huge maple syrup linger- like pancakes on Sunday morning. Amazing.

(M) Dense, smooth, creamy. Coats the tongue and roof of the mouth with heavy, very mild acidic sugar.

(O) Great beer. Enjoyed it considerably more than KBS. I am a big bourbon fan as well, and this is a clinical take on what a bourbon aged beer should be. Very balanced, very justified in it's standing. Founders setting the bar very high. Should I be fortunate enough to get another bottle, I would not pass this up.


SaisonRichBiere, Oct 19, 2011
Photo of bballmj2k
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

No time like a Tuesday to crack this baby open.

A - pours a jet black as expected with a finger or so of coffee/mocha head. Lacing sticks around and tons of alcohol legs.

S - wow. Immediately smells like fresh FBS with the bourbon component. Definitely get some sweet notes from what I assume is the maple. Enticing.

T - bitterness up front leadin to huge huge coffee, chocolate, bourbon. So complex. There's a sticky sweetness that remains at the back of the tongue - can't make out maple exactly but it gives that impression.

M - silky smooth, goes down dangerously easy. Creamy mouthfeel with only a hint of heat at the end that complements the flavor profile so well.

O - stunning beer. I love how mellow it is while still being complex. To mimic others it's well worth the hype and seems to remind me of a mellowed, sweeter KBS. so good.

bballmj2k, Oct 19, 2011
Photo of callmescraps
4.28/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This showed up on tap down the street. Much easier than hunting a bottle like a maniac!

App- Dark brown to black. Thin tan cap. Minimal lacing, very fine bubbles if anything.

Smell- Picking up the maple, for sure. The bourbon is a little muted, as the maple dominates to my mind. A little coffee roast as well. The vanilla, coffee and chocolate smells I am used to, so it's the maple that stands out. It may not be the strongest component of the aroma, but it's the most unusual to my mind.

Taste- There is some coffee burnt at the front, a little roasty to my mind. However, the waves of vanilla mellow it out, and it's all maple to the finish. The sweetness of the maple takes its toll on me, and lingers for quite awhile. The bourbon is pretty mellow, as it should be for a Canadian. The harshness of the roast is nicely balanced. A sweeter beer than anticipated, for sure. I'd prefer a stronger heat.

Mouthfeel- Good and rich without being thick or syrupy. Nice carbonation. About as good as it gets.

Overall- Something about the way the maple lingers doesn't do it for me. It's a really good beverage, but that lingering sweet maple is off-putting. I like a little stronger heat, bourbon, vanilla and I was not getting it. I'll take a Bourbon County any day of the week, but that's just me. Glad I got to have it this year, and glad I didn't have to run over an old lady to get some.

callmescraps, Oct 17, 2011
Photo of Stockfan42
4.33/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep black body with a foamy dark brown head. The head decipitates down to a tine lace that sticks too the glass.

Smells of roasted coffee beans and bourbon with hints of sweet maple, dark chocolate and a bit of heat in the finish.

Taste is mainly the coffee, bourbon and maple all well balanced with hints of dark chocolate and a tiny bit of vanilla at the end. A bit boozy at first but settles as the beer settles.

Mouthfeel is heavy and thick, very velvety yet slightly creamy. Well carbonated and very smooth.

Overall this was worth the 20$ price tag. Although I do prefer the kbs, its still highly recommended

Stockfan42, Oct 17, 2011
Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a beautiful deep black. There is a surprising brown (almost grey) head on this beer that lingers for awhile. Some lacing is left on the glass as it drinks, but nothing major.

S: Smells of mainly of roasted malt and coffee with tons of sweet vanilla in the background.

T: Tastes of coffee, maple, vanilla, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate. This beer is a lot sweeter that I was expecting, but it's still fantastic.

M: Full bodied beer, and I'm absolutely blown away by how creamy it is. There is a cloying nature to this brew. It sticks to the palate and you sometimes want to chew it down. This beer is super sooth, like drinking melted chocolate.

O: I thought this beer pretty damn good. The sweetness is high, but not overpowering. All the flavors are spot on, and they really blend nicely. I'm really glad to have tried it, but I would choose 2 bottles of KBS over a CBS.

trxxpaxxs, Oct 17, 2011
Photo of MicroBeerMan1980
4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer at Al's of Hampden, in Enola, PA on 10-15-11.

A: This beer is black like used motor oil. It has a white/tan head that dissipates very quickly into a thin ring around the edge of the glass. The bubbles are very fine and creamy in appearance.

S: It has very strong coffee notes. The black and chocolate malts are extremely prevalent as well. I'm also getting some leather and licorice in there. Perhaps some toasted wood as well? I can't really pick out a hop profile.

T: Coco, cream and coffee. The malt profile in this beer is astounding. Earth, chocolate, cereal, blankets of coffee, etc. The hops are non-existent. The overall taste is synonymous with the feelings I had as a child when Saturday Morning Cartoons came on. Superb!

M: Velvety and very smooth, for a breakfast stout. It's well balanced and doesn't leave a harsh or sticky after taste on the palate and tongue.

D: This beer is VERY drinkable. It's warming and comforting. Wonderful beer.

MicroBeerMan1980, Oct 17, 2011
Photo of JayS2629
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This pours dark black with a mocha colored thick cream that fades slowly and leaves huge rings of lace.

Whiff of faint bourbon and dry cocoa with bitter coffee notes and licorice notes. Subdued earth tones, colar, and oaky, woody tones.

Sweet chocololate up front fades into coffee and a slight boozy burn in the finish. Chocolate and coffe persist and linger throughout. Nice maple middle sticks in the finish with an after breah of cocoa, vanilla, and woody oak tones. Earthy tones throughout.

Lots of layers, complex and interesting. The most amazing thing is the balance and body. Maple tones the bourbon which placed nicely. No element overpowers another.

Smooth, cream, velvety and tounge coating. Syrupy slickness.

Overall, an amazing beer in balance, flavor, body and aroma. Abolutely delicious.

JayS2629, Oct 17, 2011
Photo of dogfishandi
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

huge thanks to tom for sharing this with us!

750ml. bottle at fridge temp poured into a snifter.

pours out a thick opaque black with a creamy dark tan head with some random giant bubbles. spots of lace, and some syrupy looking legs left on the glass.

some big heavily roasted espresso coffee jumps out initially. a bit of heat. a bit sweet and syrupy, not necessarily maple, and some roasted malt. a hint of vanilla.

all the flavors meld with one another very nicely. espresso coffee beans are mostly at the forefront. sweet milk chocolate, creamy. just a hint of maple and maybe some vanilla towards the finish.

really loved the mouthfeel of this. so smooth and creamy... velvety. minimal carbonation, with a thick heavy body.

this is an exceptional stout, definatly unique. love the coffee flavors, but maybe lacked a touch on the maple. i hate to say it considering the hype and all, but id prolly take a KBS over this. had this right after my very first kate the great and they were about even for me, even though my scores may say different...

dogfishandi, Oct 17, 2011
Photo of aasher
3.8/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a full bodied midnight black with dark brown highlights and a beige lacing around my glass. It smells like a Breakfast Stout, a lot of bitter coffee with moderate chocolate. I don't get any bourbon notes at all. The flavors featured are very sweet maple syrup, smooth chocolates, and bitter coffee. It's really not that complex and is overly sweet. It's a maple bomb. I wish it was far more subdued. It drinks medium to full in body. It's a nice drinker but its sooo sweet. It's holding it back. As it stands this beer is vastly overrated and inferior when compared to FBS and KBS. Recognize.

Edit: After having both this and Wide Awake It's Morning, I'm sure the two are related. It makes me want to try the Maple Bacon Coffee Porter to see if it's in the middle.

aasher, Oct 17, 2011
Photo of Gmann
4.35/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thick black color with a huge pillowy light brown head that slowly settles.

The aroma is of rich coffee and milk chocolate. Strong woody scent with hints of the bourbon. There is some molasses and vanilla notes as well. Really love that Founders breakfast stout aroma.

The taste is bold and sweet. Things start off with a strong coffee flavor, fresh grounds. The beer has a pronounced woody flavor which brings some bark like notes with earthy bitterness. The bourbon and vanilla are light but noticable, just like KBS it doesn't overpower. Not sure if I taste maple specifically, but there is a big sweetness that runs throughout. Molasses, brown sugar, syrup, its all there. The sweetness is a bit overpowering.

The body is big and thick and velvty smooth despite the needed prickly carbonation. Very sweet on the palate but it does have that earthy bitterness to combat it. It is a tad boozy and the sweetness does border on cloying.

Very bold with plenty of outstanding flavors. The FBS, KBS, CBS line is just fantastic. I prefer the KBS to the CBS because the CBS is a bit too sweet and kind of overpowers the bourbon.

Gmann, Oct 17, 2011
Photo of Lillie1128
3.93/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours jet black with a dark mocha head

S - Coffee overpowered by bourbon

T - Really bourbon-y. The maple syrup is pretty apparent throughout and there's a hint of coffee at the end

M - Pretty thick and syrupy, heavy-bodied

Honestly, I'm not as impressed as I thought I would be. I mean, it's pretty good, but I just didn't get that "wow" I thought it would. It's still a solid brew though.

Lillie1128, Oct 17, 2011
Photo of sliverX
4.33/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured pitch black nice thin wispy cap of tan good lacing
Smell is strong coffee a bit woody
Taste boozy woody a hint of maple heavy coffee backed with some stout
Mouthfeel smooth easy to drink medium body nice
Overall a very nice fun beer but the hype may have elevated this being crazy.

sliverX, Oct 17, 2011
Photo of 33nickadams
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black and completely opaque.  Tan head almost non existent.  Very little carbonation streams float to the top.  

I first get chocolate.  Then the bourbon and very slight coffee.  Maybe even a little smokiness.  The maple is there, but barely detectable for me.  A little disappointed to sense a metallic smell.  It dicipates over time though.

Taste can be described in one word - subtle.  With so much complexity and different tastes-the coffee, chocolate, bourbon, the maple-there is not one that stands out entirely.  Very well balanced.  There is a nice sweetness at the end of the sip.  It's like a whole meal was tasted in one sip.  The only trace of any alcohol is the slight burn down the throat.  You're almost thankful of this to remind you that this is beer.

Like all of founders breakfast stouts the mouthfeel is silky smooth. Even though it is heavy, you're tricked  into thinking that it is lighter because of the complexity of tastes.  Perfectly carbonated.

Without a doubt, an excellent beer.  What was it worth the hype?I'm not so sure.  Anyway, I feel lucky enough to score a bottle , but a little ashamed at how much I paid.  All in all, trying different beer is a perfect metaphor of   life for me-  be in the moment, experience as much of it as you can, but try not to take it too seriously.

33nickadams, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of KDawg
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Has this from bottle and poured into an ommegang glass. Poured an almost motor oil dark black color. It didn't have the consistency on the pour, just the appearance.

Big, bold, and rich nose that is very layered. Loads of espresso tones along with malts, dark chocolate and some alcohol as well. The heat on the nose is a bit distracting

About as full bodied as it can get. The feel is well layered but it doesn't feel overbearing at all. Not noticing the alcohol as much on the feel, but it is still there. More espresso based with some maple syrup also noticeable as well

Is it possible to be impressed and let down in a way at the same time? It was still extremely good, but the alcohol showing the way it did was bothersome. This probably needs a little bit of time to fully balance out

KDawg, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of akorsak
4.58/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At Al's of Hampden. Last night and again this afternoon. Served in a mini snifter both times. 11 ounces of glory.

A: The stout is pitch black, an encompassing morass of depth, really a beauty to look at. The bottle pour has left only the faintest band of dark head behind, The viscous body has legs.

S: Sweet maple syrup paired with vanilla bourbon, coffee and roasted chocolate. Each aroma takes it time, gradually emerging as the stout warms. The maple is, by far, the most unique aspect, a rich sweetness cuts through the rest of the already-formidable imperial stout.

T: Imperialistic and coffee-drive, the first couple sips bring the coffee stout to the fore. The coffee buzz iz intoxicatingly good, coaxing the rest of the stout out. The bourbon and maple follow, bringing out the intensity of the stout. The bourbon lends vanilla and coconut before the maple comes through with a syrupy strength. That maple is strong and very dry, each sip left my mouth to deal with a dry sweetness that screamed out for more. The whole package, as strong as it is, just tastes right - a velvety smooth stout.

M: The swirling flavors, bourbon and maple and coffee and chocolate, come together like few other beers can. From the late-night neon din to a mid-day sit-down, CBS doesn't disappoint.

O: A beer like this deserves an addendum, an "I'm with you in Rockland" postscript. Each sip is so complex, so flavorful, that words can barely do it justice.

akorsak, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of normyk
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After hearing how great this is for so long I was stoked to get to try it myself. Had a nice taste last weekend and now I'm sitting down to try a glass in a relaxed setting. Lightly chilled in a Duvel tulip.

Pours with a nice fuzzy tan head and the expected darker than black color one expects from a monster stout. Attractive.

The aroma has enormous coffee with a smooth background of maple and some hints of bourbon, chocolate and vanilla. Very nice to the nose.

The taste carries on where the aroma leaves off with the maple sweetness that the KBS does not. It's pretty amazingly balanced given how big the flavors are. Its got a creaminess that is pretty surprising in a way - not quite what I expected from a beast like this. It works given the sweetness and between the two they take the edge off of the coffee.

The mouthfeel is lives up to my favorite term for all things right in a good stout - lush. It is thick and fills and coats the mouth with just a little alcohol burn around the edges. Very nice.

Overall its really damn good. I'd place it behind KBS and FBS, but not by much. I get why there has been such hype even if I prefer the established greats better.

normyk, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of orangesol
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served from a bottle at Al's of Hampden into a 5.5oz taster glass. I got a second one just to be sure...

A - Pours jet black with a small half finger tall mocha colored head leaving small webs of lace down the glass.

S - Smells of rich espresso, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, nuts, maple syrup, and the ever present dark roasted grains. Some booze begins to creep in as it warms, only growing stronger as it comes to room temperature.

T - Starts off with a big, roasty, espresso kick quickly giving way to quite a bit of sweetness; mostly maple syrup, chocolate, and vanilla; and some light bourbon heat. Some light smoke creeps in as the sweetness begins to ween but it never really goes away fully. The finish is a mix of dark roast and sugary sweetness, lingering on the pallet for some time.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Sweet, slightly boozy, feel. Almost syrup like in the finish with plenty of sweetness.

O - There is no doubt that this is one of the best out there. The sweetness is strong but still manageable and even with the high ABV I could still drink a few of these no problem. I still plan to seek this one out on-tap at some point but this was a great introduction.

orangesol, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of Agold
4.83/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours with a nice big head that dissipates to a nice coating. Here comes the maple. Drinking right next to kbs and regular and the maple is nice and noticeable. Big coffee mild bourbon and some nice sweetness. Flavor has a bit more of the maple with a smooth bourbon flavor with a little bit of heat. Maple, coffee, coco, mild sweetness. Holy crap this one kills it. Mouthfeel is not too syrupy not too thin, good mild carb, perfect. This is why I love founders. Great beer, great experience. Kudos to founders for bottling this beer that ive been chasing since I heard it existed.

Agold, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of smakawhat
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Well, thanks to you (you know who you are), and on a lark I miraculously scored ONE bottle. Coddled and revered with care, poured into a large snifter glass at a good cellar temperature to review. (many comparisons will be made in terms of this vs. on tap).

Appearance is just a flat out knockout mostly because of head formation. A creamy coffee light brown and caramel, small bubbled consistency and forms so nicely. The head has a spectacular character that I have not witnessed before, and pulls the beer over the top in appearance. While holding like a solid stout, in the corner ring collar there is a sheen like film, not gross looking, but like a small soup like skin, that glosses over the edges. The corners of this head with it's hint of legs, and nice leopard lacing, show an edge of just shining polished glass. Just unreal, never seen anything like it. Body color is your standard walnut black/brown, some noticeable carbonation while tilting the glass.

Nose, in comparison on tap, less sweet and way more balanced and enjoyable. Still incredibly roasty and coffee dominant, but a light soft milk sensation and slight sweet cream. Soft notes continue but there is just a faint bit of heat here.

Taste brings a wonderful balance. Coffee dominant but still with a light brown sugar that doesn't overpower. Texture velvety as ever, but palate then gets on the finish miraculously the one thing I have been waiting for in a stout bourbon used barrel. A hint of whiskey. Whiskey angle is not distinct, but there, a slight sense but not so much. Bitterness comes after some warming, mixes with slight boozy spirit whisk(e)y and gives off tobacco just a slight touch. Chocolate, vanilla angles still not quite there, but others I gave it too certainly picked up on chocolate.

Overall, less of a one trick pony out of the bottle, but still coffee dominant and forward but the hint of whisk(e)y just pushes it over the edge, tastes are balanced, varied, highly exploratory, and it's far less sweet which makes it much more tolerable and enjoyable for myself. Just pure magic. I can't say anymore, I drank it all with ease, it was so easy to drink on top of it.

Nothing more needs to be said than has already been.

smakawhat, Oct 16, 2011
Founders CBS Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,352 ratings.